Nearly 120 people, including police, were injured as clashes broke out between opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders and activists with the police and ruling Awami League men in Magura, Netrokona, Gaibandha and Bhola districts on Friday. The clashes took place as the opposition party was organising its 45th founding anniversary programme on the day.
In Magura, a clash broke out between the police and BNP leaders and activists in front of the temporary office of the party in Mohammadpur upazila in afternoon. Three BNP men sustained bullet injuries and three police members were injured in the clash, witnesses said.
The BNP leaders and activists allegedly vandalised a vehicle and two motorcycles of police.
“BNP leaders and activists were gathering in front of the party office in the market to celebrate the party’s founding anniversary. The police detained several of them, creating tension. The police charged with batons and fired tear gas shells. At the same time some members of Awami League appeared on the scene and clashed with the BNP men. The AL men vandalised the police vehicles,” district BNP joint convener Mithun Roy told Prothom Alo.
The BNP leaders claimed at least 50 of their leaders and activists were injured in attacks of police and the ruling party men.
But denying the allegations of BNP, Mohammadpur upazila Swechhasebok League convener Sujon Shikder told Prothom Alo that the AL leaders and activists were not present there.
Magura additional police super Md Kalimullah told Prothom Alo that the rally of BNP was going well. At a stage a group hurled brick chips at police who were present there and vandalised a police car and two motorcycles. Three police members were injured in the attack, he claimed.
Police opened firing to bring the situation under control, he added.
In Netrokona, at least 50 people sustained injuries as the BNP and AL leaders and activists locked into chase and counter chase when the BNP men were gathering for the party’s 45th anniversary programme and AL men brought out a protest procession in Kalmakanda upazila.
Police opened fire to bring the situation under control.
Witnesses, police and party activists said BNP men were gathering with small processions at the party’s office in Dhanmahal area in the upazila at around 12:00 pm. At around 2:00 pm the AL men brought out a protest procession and stopped the BNP men from holding their programme, leading to the clashes.
Kalmakanda upazila AL general secretary Islam Uddin said AL did not obstruct the BNP men from holding their programme. Rather, they attacked the AL men following infighting between their factions. As a result, 30 AL leaders and activists were injured.
Kalmakanda upazila BNP convener MA Khair said, “We sought the police’s permission for holding the founding anniversary programmes and it was given to us. Later, police and AL men attacked the BNP leaders and activists when they started coming towards the party office at noon, injuring 20 leaders and activists. Five of the injured sustained bullet injuries.”
“Fifteen injured came to the hospital. they were given primary treatment,” said Kalmakanda upazila complex’s health and family planning officer Abdullah Al Mamun to Prothom Alo.
Kalmakanda police station officer-in-charge Abul Kalam said the police tried to stop the BNP leaders and activists when they were creating public sufferings by burning tyres on the road and taking position there with crude weapons. They also attacked police members, injuring four law enforcers, he claimed.
Mentioning that they fired seven rounds of blank shots to quell the situation, he added that they were taking preparation to file a case on charges of attacking police and obstructing them from carrying out official duty.
In Gaibandha, the clash took place at Park Road at around 4:45 pm.
Witnesses and police said BNP brought out a procession marking its 45th anniversary from the district BNP office at Circular Road in the district at around 4:30 pm. The police intercepted the procession as it reached Park Road parading different streets, leading to clashes with BNP men. Police at one point charged batons and fired tear gas shells towards the BNP men injuring 15 BNP and Jubo Dal men. They received treatment at different hospitals in the district. Later police detained two BNP leaders from the party office.
Gaibandha Sadar thana BNP’s member secretary Ilias Hossain said police intercepted the procession and charged batons without any provocation.
Masud Rana, officer-in-charge of Gaibandha police station, told Prothom Alo that BNP men vandalised several shops at Park road and created an anarchic situation from their procession. Police fired six shells of tear gas to bring the situation under control.
The OC said two BNP men were detained over the incident.
In Bhola, BNP’s procession marking the founding anniversary came under indiscriminate attack allegedly by AL men in Borhanuddin upazila.
The incident took place in front of BNP’s upazila office at around 10:30 am.
BNP claimed over 50 of its leaders-activists were injured during the attack. The injured persons received treatment at different hospitals in Borhanuddin, Bhola and Barishal. House of Borhanuddin pourashava BNP’s president and former mayor Saidur Rahman was allegedly vandalised during the attack.
Witnesses said BNP men thronged in front of the party office since morning and cut a cake celebrating the anniversary. When BNP men brought out the procession at around 10:30 pm, ruling party men led by upazila Jubo League president Tajuddin Khan suddenly attacked the procession dispersing the BNP men.
Upazila BNP organising secretary Md Sarwar Alam alleged that AL and Jubo League leaders-activists attacked the procession. Later they attacked many BNP men while they were returning home.
He accused police of inaction while ruling party men were attacking BNP men.
Jubo League president Tajuddin Khan denied the allegation of leading the attack and said BNP men attacked a ‘peace procession’ brought out by the ruling party activists.
He also denied any attack on BNP leader Saidur Rahman’s house.
Officer-in-charge of Borhanuddin police station Monir Mia denied any clashes. He said there was an altercation and a scuffle between two parties. Police were present in the middle of two parties. Police have the video footage of the incident. The allegation of the BNP is untrue.